Thursday, April 29, 2021

Saladworks Continues to Expand Into Fresh Markets

Saladworks, part of the WOWorks family of brands, continued to expand its reach in the first quarter of 2021 with double digit new store openings, bringing WOWorks’ total number of locations to 217 across the U.S. and Canada. The 11 new Saladworks locations are located in Nevada, Florida, Tennessee, and Ontario, Canada and include traditional and non-traditional retail presences such as inside grocery stores, ghost kitchens and more. . . . more

Pearle Vision's Largest Franchisee Signs New Five Store Development Agreement

Plain Vanilla Shell
Bill Noble is continuing to build his Pearle Vision empire. The multi-unit operator is the largest franchisee in the system with more than 70 locations in Alabama, Arizona, Colorado, Florida, Georgia, Indiana, Kentucky, Michigan, Ohio, and Pennsylvania. He’s just signed a new development agreement that will see him bring the Pearle Vision name to four conversion stores in the Birmingham, Alabama market, and a new location in Boulder, Colorado. . . . more

Tuesday, April 27, 2021

Domino's resurrects '80s brand icon the Noid to spotlight autonomous delivery

Restaurant Dive
Domino's is bringing back its infamous brand mascot the Noid to spotlight an autonomous delivery partnership with robotics company Nuro, according to an announcement. . . . more

Tractor Supply continues to win over rural America in Q1

Thanks to several factors in and out of its control, Tractor Supply last week reported that first quarter net sales rose 42.5% to $2.79 billion. E-commerce sales "experienced triple-digit percentage growth for the fourth consecutive quarter," according to a company press release. . . . more

BJ’s responds to surging membership with personalization

BJ’s Wholesale Club is stepping up its promotional efforts with data-driven marketing. . . . more

Yum! Brands targets net zero emissions by 2050

Yum! Brands is cutting greenhouse gas emissions as a cornerstone of its climate change initiative. . . . more

Justice opens up shop again — online

Justice is back in business. . . . more

Target taps Crate & Barrel exec to lead home merchandising

Target Corp. has tapped a merchandising and marketing veteran to help advance the company’s home strategy. . . . more

The optical retailers without an optician sets its eyes on isolated locations

For folks in rural areas, eye examinations are often an annual family outing. Optical shops must pay opticians who do eye exams salaries in excess of $150,000, and that’s just not profitable in towns like Beersheba Springs, Tenn., or Deweyville, Utah. . . . more

Friday, April 23, 2021

Neiman Marcus steps up environmental commitment

Neiman Marcus Group honored Earth Day by announcing its first environmental social governance team. . . . more

Thursday, April 22, 2021

New Blaze Pizza CFO: 'We all have to assume the world will get back to normal'

Restaurant Dive
As far as finance goes, Brad Reynolds is steeped in the restaurant industry. He most recently served as COO of ghost kitchen operator C3, and before that, spent four years as CFO and senior vice president of franchise strategy at Smashburger. . . . more

Nearly a third of small retailers still can't pay their rent

Retail Dive
With some factors finally tilting in their favor after a brutal pandemic year, more retailers are showing some signs of recovery in recent months, with 31% of small retailers still unable to pay their rent this month, according to an April rent report from Alignable, an online referral network for small businesses. . . . more

Starbucks opening center to find new ways to build, operate stores

Starbucks Corp. and Arizona State University are partnering to create a facility whose goal is to positively impact the future of the planet. . . . more

Amazon hands palm-based payment to Whole Foods shoppers

The reach of Amazon’s contactless payment device keeps growing across the tech giant’s brick-and-mortar banners. . . . more

Lidl US names new CEO

Lidl U.S. has appointed a company veteran as its new chief executive. . . . more

Chipotle to open 200 new locations in 2021

Chipotle Mexican Grill smashed first-quarter earnings expectations amid a 17.2% rise in same-store sales. . . . more

At Home opens its first New York City store

At Home Group has entered a big new market. . . . more

Wednesday, April 21, 2021

The Parent Of Old Country Buffet And Furr's Declares Bankruptcy

Restaurant Business
Fresh Acquisitions LLC and Buffets LLC declared Chapter 11 bankruptcy on Tuesday, more than a year into a pandemic that proved especially difficult for its six restaurant chains, five of which specialize in buffet-style service. . . . more

Tuesday, April 20, 2021

Athleta to move into Canada

Retail Dive
Moving squarely into rival Lululemon's home turf, Gap Inc. on Tuesday said it will bring Athleta to Canada this year, the activewear brand's "first company-owned expansion outside the United States." . . . more

BJ's names new CEO

BJ's Wholesale Club has promoted its interim chief executive to the role on a permanent basis. . . . more

First Look: Amazon’s new high-tech hair salon

Amazon is entering yet another brick-and-market segment and this one could be the most unexpected to date. . . . more

Whole Foods adopts next-gen refrigerant to lower carbon footprint, save energy

Whole Foods Market is switching to an alternative refrigerant with a lower global-warming potential. . . . more

Monday, April 19, 2021

Organic produce continues growth, with sales up 9.3% in Q1

Supermarket News
Total organic fresh produce sales for the first quarter of 2021 saw a continuation of last year’s growth, increasing by 9.3% from the same period in 2020 and topping $2.2 billion for the quarter, according to the Q1 2021 Organic Produce Performance Report released this week by Organic Produce Network and Category Partners. . . . more

Lord & Taylor is back in business

Lord & Taylor has been revived under its new owners. . . . more

Next-gen ear-piercing store concept expands

Studs is growing its fledging footprint. . . . more

Walmart to test in-store Le Madeleine bakery, café

Walmart to test in-store Le Madeleine bakery, café. . . . more

Target tests new process for faster order delivery

Target Corp. is piloting a new sortation center that streamlines the process of fulfilling digital orders from stores. . . . more

Kimco and Weingarten merge to create top grocery-anchored center company

Kimco and Weingarten, both important operators of grocery-anchored shopping centers in the United States, have merged to become No. 1 in that business with a combined portfolio of 559 properties. . . . more

Why Big Blue Swim School is One of 2021's Best Franchise Bets

Plain Vanilla Shell
Big Blue Swim School, one of the nation’s fastest-growing swim school franchises, is making a splash with new investors this year. . . . more

Friday, April 16, 2021

Macy's Backstage opening 45 shop-in-shops

Retail Dive
Rather than just stand by and watch off-price retailers steal its sales and customers, Macy's decided a few years ago to partake of the segment's success. . . more

Monthly retail sales from the US Commerce Department

Retail Dive
Every month, the U.S. Department of Commerce, Census Bureau, releases its first calculation of the previous month’s retail sales. At Retail Dive, we report these figures by grouping the key segments that define “retail” in a way that we hope is most meaningful to the industry. . . . more

Tractor Supply adding branded in-store Carhartt shops

Tractor Supply Company is expanding its partnership with Carhartt. . . . more

Gen Z quickly ‘cancels’ brands and moves on; no patience with online errors

Gen Z is not likely to give retailers a second chance when faced with a poor online experience. . . . more

Coach names CEO

Coach’s search for a chief executive has ended in-house. . . . more

Big rebound for U.S. retail sales in March

Retail sales roared back in March with huge gains, fueled by the fresh round of stimulus checks and increased consumer confidence. . . . more

Convenience Drives MOOYAH Into the Post-Pandemic Future

Plain Vanilla Shell
MOOYAH president Tony Darden is among those restaurant leaders who believe consumer behavior has changed for good. Yet it’s not the “new normal” after-shock so many prescribe to. Guests will return to restaurants as vaccines spread and herd immunity materializes, he says. They’ll start gathering in groups again. . . . more

Wednesday, April 14, 2021

CVS bulks up in-store assortment of frozen food, snacks

CVS Pharmacy is launching expanded selections of more than 100 frozen foods, with a focus on meal planning, and over 140 better-for-you snacks. . . . more

Birkenstock Opens Its Third US Flagship — Why the Brand Still Believes in Brick & Mortar Retail

Footwear News
Birkenstock is ready for the revival of physical retail. . . . more

Hardest hit: Who is still at risk after last year's retail tribulations?

Retail Dive
You would be hard pressed to find a retailer that, for better or worse, was unaffected by COVID-19.  . . . more

Check out Roche Bros.' new store at mixed-use development Arsenal Yards

Roche Bros. has opened a location at the 1 million-plus sq. ft. Arsenal Yards in Watertown, Mass. The new mixed-use project is a co-development of Boylston Properties and Wilder. . . . more

Kohl’s named Energy Star Partner of the Year for 10th consecutive year

It’s an even 10 for Kohl’s Corp. as the retailer is recognized for its longstanding commitment to energy efficiency. . . . more

Lowe’s targets pro customers with enhanced store experience

Lowe's is going after its professional customer (Pro) base by rolling out an in-store shopping experience created specifically for them. . . . more

Taco Bell opens its first digital-only U.S. store in New York City

You can get anything you want at the newest Taco Bell restaurant – except for traditional ordering. . . . more

Tuesday, April 13, 2021

Publix now offers COVID-19 vaccinations across its market area

Supermarket News
Publix Super Markets is now providing COVID-19 vaccines in all seven Southeastern states where it operates. . . . more

Shoppers Are Heading Back to Malls — Is a Comeback on the Horizon?

Footwear News
Already faced with pressures from the acceleration of e-commerce, malls were dealt an even bigger blow when the COVID-19 pandemic brought traffic and sales to a near-standstill. . . . more

Whataburger seeks to hire 50K employees with focus on managers

Restaurant Dive
Whataburger announced Thursday that it seeks to hire 50,000 employees "with an emphasis on finding business leaders to run its multi-million dollar restaurants." In a press release, CEO Ed Nelson emphasized general manager roles specifically. . . . more

How the pandemic drove retailers to on-demand warehousing

Companies that provide "on-demand" warehousing in the form of short-term contracts have experienced an uptick in demand as a result of the pandemic, which industry analysts say is explained by supply chains looking for agility and flexibility in their operations. Still, some question the value and say traditional 3PLs provide better long-term partners. . . . more

7-Eleven expands ‘evolution’ store concept

7-Eleven Inc. has opened the latest version of its “evolution” store format. . . . more

CBL focuses on local tenants in its new mall campaign

Though scores of national brand retailers populate the 100-plus malls and outdoor centers CBL Properties operates in 24 states, the Chattanooga, Tenn.-based company likes to point out that some 1,300 of its tenants are locally owned businesses. . . . more

Bed Bath & Beyond in new effort to take lead in $180 billion home market

Bed Bath & Beyond is launching one of its biggest brand campaigns ever in a move to position itself as the leading authority in home goods. Store employees will be outfitted with uniforms as part of the initiative. . . . more

Monday, April 12, 2021

McDonald’s closing hundreds of locations inside Walmart stores

A decades-old partnership between two giants in their sectors is not what it used to be. . . . more

Roche Bros. makes debut in Arsenal Yards mixed-use project

Supermarket News
Anchor store marks upscale chain’s first location in Watertown, Mass. . . . more

Retail defaults to decline — but will still be high: Moody's

Debt defaults in retail and apparel will decline this year to an estimated 5.3%, according to a recent Moody's report on companies in the industry it rates. . . . more

Will suburbia save the mall?

Retail Dive
The COVID-19 pandemic has been an extreme event. The disease outbreak has devastated human health and upended the global economy, and remains a threat after a year despite the rapid development of vaccines. When it comes to business in general and retail in particular, it has altered or sped up several trends, including the decline of malls, once the favorite shopping destination of much of America. . . . more

IBM: Most shoppers eager to return to stores

The tides may be turning for brick-and-mortar stores, with consumers indicating a strong desire, once they are vaccinated, to return to malls and shopping centers. . . . more

BJ’s Wholesale Club CEO dies at 49

Lee Delaney, the president and CEO of BJ’s Wholesale Club, passed away unexpectedly on Thursday, April 8, the company said. . . . more

Amazon to open its first grocery stores on the East Coast

CNBC Business
Amazon is opening its first grocery stores on the East Coast, the company confirmed Thursday, in the latest sign of its efforts to upend traditional supermarkets. . . . more

Friday, April 9, 2021

GameStop to name Ryan Cohen as next chairman

Retail Dive
GameStop's board has formed a new strategic committee tasked with "accelerat[ing] the Company's transformation." Already the committee has hired a new chief technology officer and executives to lead customer care and e-commerce fulfillment. . . . more

Tailored Brands left bankruptcy and quickly unravelled. What's next?

Retail Dive
George Zimmer opened the first Men's Wearhouse with $7,000 of his own money and $30,000 borrowed from his father, a raincoat manufacturer. . . . more

Dick’s Sporting Goods updating Golf Galaxy stores; opens 34 in-store soccer shops

Dick’s Sporting Goods is doubling down on two popular sports: golf and soccer. It’s also expanding its warehouse store format. . . . more

Dick’s Sporting Goods unveils new store concept — complete with outdoor track

Dick’s Sporting Goods has gone experiential. . . . more

Costco sales rise 17.6% in March

Costco Wholesale Corp. reported stronger-than-expected sales for March. . . . more

Mall vacancy rate increases by a record margin

Mall vacancy rate in the United States rose from 10.5% in the fourth quarter of 2020 to 11.4% in the first quarter of 2021, according to Moody’s Analytics. . . . more

Regal Cinemas to re-open 500 locations this spring

After six months of closed theaters and an operating loss $2 billion, Regal Cinemas will be re-opening some 500 theaters beginning this month. Attendance will be capped at between 25% and 50% of capacity, depending upon location. . . . more

Thursday, April 8, 2021

Best Buy pilots $200 membership

Retail Dive
Best Buy on Tuesday announced that it is piloting a paid membership program called Best Buy Beta, according to a company announcement. . . . more

Restaurants could see up to 30% check boost from latest stimulus, Rabobank predicts

Restaurant Dive
The $1,400 stimulus checks rolling out to consumer's bank accounts as part of the $1.9 trillion American Rescue Plan are expected to lift restaurant sales by as much as 20% to 30% during the next several weeks, according to a report from Rabobank using Earnest Research. . . . more

Good news for stores: Consumer sentiment about COVID-19 recovery improving

The number of consumers who are ready to pursue normal activity is on the rise. . . . more

Discount Tire hits the road with mobile tire inspections

The world’s largest independent retailer of tires and wheels is deploying a proprietary tire tread depth-reading mobile solution. . . . more

Tropical Smoothie Café expansion heats up

Tropical Smoothie Café is on track for another strong year. . . . more

NY mall faces financial woes from theme-park investments, but vaccine rollout gives hope

Fox Business
In some of the country’s largest shopping malls, the strategy to add theme-park-like attractions to make up for declining foot traffic looks less like a lifeline and more like a burden. . . . more

More retail pain ahead: UBS predicts 80,000 stores will close in the U.S. by 2026

CNBC Business
Although the pace of store closures has slowed from its 2019 peak, don’t expect the reprieve to last long, according to a new UBS report that suggests America still has far too much retail space per capita. . . . more

Wednesday, April 7, 2021

Commercial Real Estate at a Crossroads

IMF Blog
Empty office buildings. Reduced store hours. Unbelievably low hotel room rates. All are signs of the times. The containment measures put in place last year in response to the pandemic shuttered businesses and offices, and dealt a severe blow to the demand for commercial real estate—especially, in the retail, hotel, and office segments. . . . more

Mall vacancies jump at fastest pace on record, hitting new high, as retailers cull store counts

CNBC Business
If you noticed more darkened windows and empty stores at the mall recently, you’re not alone. . . . more

Walmart to expand mobile wellness fleet to help with vaccinations

Walmart is ramping up its efforts to vaccinate folks in vulnerable communities. . . . more

Restaurant chain winners in 2020 included….

Some restaurant chains fared better than others amid the pandemic — a lot better. . . . more

Kohl’s opens sixth e-commerce fulfillment center

Kohl’s is supporting its rapidly-growing digital sales with a new dedicated fulfillment center. . . . more

Dick’s Sporting Goods launching concept store as competition heats up with Nike and other big brands

Dick’s Sporting Goods Inc. DKS, +1.82% said Monday that it is launching a new concept store, Dick’s House of Sport, in Victor, NY on April 9. . . . more

Amazon is snapping up disused shopping malls and turning them into fulfillment centers

NBC News
Malls that buckled due to e-commerce or suffered during the pandemic are being given new life by the very entity that precipitated their decline — Amazon. . . . more

Monday, April 5, 2021

Walmart, H&M among retailers in US most exposed to Suez Canal disruptions

Retail Dive
Europe is the region expected to experience the largest impact from the days-long blockage of the Suez Canal with the United Kingdom, Germany, Belgium, France, Netherlands, Italy, Switzerland, Spain, Turkey and Austria expected to take on the most repercussions, according to an analysis emailed by Dun & Bradstreet. . . . more

For Supermarkets and Big Box, a Change of Scene in Design

Better designs for large-format stores are essential for success during the pandemic recovery phase in 2021 and long after. That’s one reason new retail setups and renovations are such a strong focus now. . . . more

Trader Joe’s is first grocer to use special app to help shoppers with austism

Trader Joe's is offering a free app designed to make the world a more accessible place for people with cognitive and intellectual disabilities. . . . more

Consumer confidence jumps to highest level in a year

Consumer confidence surged in March as Americans grew more optimistic about the economy and labor market. . . . more

Popular Discount Retail Store Coming To Western New York With Three Locations

Plain Vanilla Shell
According to WGRZ (first reported by Buffalo Business First), there's a discount retail chain called Gabe's that will be bringing not one, but three new locations to Western New York. . . . more

Friday, April 2, 2021

Joann swings to Q4 profit as sales rise 21%

Joann swung to a profit in its fourth quarter and full-year as consumers spent more time at home and invested in crafting projects amid the pandemic. . . . more

Walgreens to launch digital bank accounts this year

Retail Dive
Walgreens plans to launch bank accounts that will be available to customers online and at 9,000 of its retail stores in the second half of 2021, the company announced Tuesday. . . . more

Malls tout proposed changes to REIT rules as good for retailers

Retail Dive
More retailers could end up in the coffers of their mall landlords if a bill introduced in the U.S. House of Representatives last month gains any traction. . . . more

Hy-Vee goes chainwide with COVID-19 vaccinations

Supermarket News
Midwestern grocer expands immunization capabilities with allocation of more doses. . . . more

Instacart continues to expand beyond grocery in partnership with Michaels

Supermarket News
Crafts chain launches pilot of same-day delivery service, adding to Instacart’s roster of non-grocery retailers . . . more

How Flynn Restaurant Group renovates underperforming Arby's units with little down time

Restaurant Dive
Whenever Ron Bellamy, Flynn Restaurant Group's chief improvement officer, drives by his local Arby's in Cleveland, he is reminded of a glaring issue with the QSR's system. . . . more

Boston restaurant owner says COVID created workforce dilemma

Fox Business
Chris Coombs, co-owner of Boston Urban Hospitality, said Monday, that he's facing a staff shortage amid a "surge in business" one year after coronavirus lockdowns. . . . more

Thursday, April 1, 2021

Report: 10% of all restaurants have closed during pandemic

Over 10% of U.S. restaurants have closed permanently since the start of the pandemic in March 2020, according to Datassential research. This equates to 79,438 shuttered restaurants out of the 778,807 in operation since the onset of COVID-19. The data does not include restaurants that have opened during the pandemic.
. . . more

Months out of bankruptcy, Neiman Marcus refinances $1.1B in debt

Retail Dive
Neiman Marcus refinanced $1.1 billion in debt after emerging from Chapter 11 last fall, buying the company time and adding funds for a turnaround. . . . more

Travel retailer’s newest store model is an interactive vending machine

Hudson is offering 24/7, contactless shopping for hurried airport shoppers. . . . more

Staples exploring options to acquire certain assets of Office Depot parent company

Staples is once again looking to acquire a rival. . . . more

Study: In-store shopping rises amid vaccinations

Early shopping trends among consumers who have received the COVID-19 vaccine are promising. . . . more

Topgolf founders launching mini-golf, entertainment concept in the U.S.

An entertainment concept that combines tech-infused mini-golf with food and drink is set to open its first U.S. location. . . . more

American Freight Introduces Franchise Model Backed by 25+ Years of Growth and Profitability

Plain Vanilla Shell
American Freight is an established brand in the furniture, mattress and appliance industry backed by more than 25 years of proven success. The company is well established with a nationwide footprint of more than 350 stores and poised for even more exponential growth in 2021 through its new franchise model.  . . . more